64% for the patient whose depression improved, compared with 42% for the patient whose depression worsened.
This proves that even though new treatments have significantly improved survival for lung cancer patients, depression is still shortening a lung cancer patient’s survival rate.
“We found in this study, for the first time, that even as impressive new treatments are coming online, their efficacy may be constrained for those patients also struggling with depression,” Andersen says.
The findings suggest that screening lung cancer patients for depression is important and people with moderate levels of depression should be referred for mental health treatment.
Living with depression and lung cancer can be difficult, but there are effective ways to manage both.
If you are suffering from depression, you should discuss the following methods of treatment with your doctor:
- Medication: antidepressants, antianxiety and antipsychotic medications
- Psychotherapy: A therapist can help you cope with any negative feelings you may be experiencing. You may even opt for family or group sessions.
- Light therapy: Exposure to doses of white light has been proven to regulate mood and improve symptoms of depression.
- Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, meditation and herbal supplements can all be used to treat depression. Before taking any herbal supplements, be sure to talk with your doctor. Combining a supplement with your medication can worsen your depression or reduce the effectiveness of your medication.
- Exercise: Exercise can increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood. Try aiming for 30 minutes of exercise 3 to 5 days a week.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: Drinking and drug abuse can temporarily make you feel better. However, in the long run, they will make your symptoms of depression and anxiety worse.
- Say no: Although saying no can be hard, it is important that you take the time to put yourself first. Setting boundaries will not only make you feel better, it will also eliminate any feelings of being overwhelmed. It can also reduce your symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Take care of yourself: Although this one should go without saying, many people often neglect it or don’t realize that simple things like getting a good night’s rest or eating a healthy diet can improve their mood.
You should also keep in mind that your depression may not respond to medication. In this case, you should consult with your doctor, he or she may recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to treat depression and improve your mood.